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Wayne Balta, Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, IBM

Wayne Balta, Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, IBM

By Wayne Balta

Businesses operate in a competitive global marketplace – where they must not only deliver value and be efficient, but also must operate responsibly. That includes responsibility towards the environment.

In my view, environmental sustainability must transcend whether or not the topic is popular at any given time, and regardless of short-term business cycles.

Environmental sustainability should be a strategic imperative that anticipates and prevents, rather than reacts and fixes. It should be systemic, not an episodic fad. It’s much more than a demonstration project, or a marketing campaign. Continue Reading »

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Michael Dixon, General Manager, Smarter Cities, IBM

Michael Dixon, General Manager, Smarter Cities, IBM

By Michael Dixon

Cities have never been more attractive, with people all over the world migrating to them from near and far.

However, with them comes a range of significant challenges that city leaders must tackle. A new report from Frost and Sullivan looks at smart cities as a mega trend set to drive urban development for the next decade. It predicts that 26 global cities will be considered smart cities in 2025, more than 50 percent of which will be in Europe and North America.

In Barcelona last week, city leaders from around the world gathered at the Smart City Expo World Congress to discuss the best strategies for dealing with this population shift. As IBM met with mayors, CIOs and civic leaders, it was clear to all that a new level of instrumentation and interconnection within governments was needed to deal with the challenge. Continue Reading »

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November 20th, 2013
17:20
 

Mozhi Habibi, Worldwide Energy & Utilities Industry Leader and Cloud SME, IBM

Mozhi Habibi, Worldwide Energy & Utilities Industry Leader and Cloud SME, IBM

By Mozhi Habibi

Cloud computing and the scalable, number-crunching power it affords, is being combined with analytics to help energy companies make sense of the mounting volumes of data coming in every day.

Consider Bharat Light and Power (BLP), one of India’s largest clean energy generators producing energy from such renewable resources as solar, wind, bio-mass, and hydro. With plants in Bangalore and Delhi, BLP is tapping into cloud and analytics through IBM and IBM Softlayer to improve efficiencies and data management, both of which will ultimately help the company produce more clean energy for an increasingly power-hungry customer base. Continue Reading »

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Andy Sanford-Clark, IBM Master Inventor

Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM Master Inventor

By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications

Andy Stanford-Clark built his first sensor when he was six years old to alert his mom if it started raining after she had hung the wash out to dry. His “rain detector” involved nothing more than a few copper strips on a small board that attached to the clothesline and a little box in the house that beeped, alerting her to bring in the laundry.

Already at that young age, Stanford-Clark was able to recognize a problem and solve it with a simple solution. Today, 40 years later, he is still doing the same thing, but on a much grander scale. Continue Reading »

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August 27th, 2013
11:00
 

Martin Fleming, , Vice President, Business Performance Services, Chief Economist, IBM

Martin Fleming, Vice President, Business Performance Services, Chief Economist, IBM

By Martin Fleming

In a recent New York Times article, reporter James Glanz asks: “Is Big Data an Economic Dud?” Mr. Glanz seems to answer his own question skeptically. The “data era,” he suggests, will not match the earlier revolutions in manufacturing, domestic life and transportation.

In addition, the Wall Street Journal posted a blog discussing that Big Data is at, or near the peak of the Gartner “hype cycle” and “big data technologies are now soon to be due for a fall into the ‘trough of disillusionment.’” Continue Reading »

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Dr. Katharine Frase,  Chief Technology Officer, IBM Global Public Sector

Dr. Katharine Frase,
Chief Technology Officer, IBM Global Public Sector

By Dr. Katharine Frase

The urbanization age is upon us. While the estimates vary of what percentage of population will live in cities by 2020, 2050, or even 2015 for that matter, what remains constant is the undeniable pace of change cities are already facing – change that will only accelerate.

Cities around the world, whether big, mid-size or small, are reaching their limits from growing and aging populations, strained infrastructures and a constant need to do more with less.

To reinvent themselves for the 21st century – “the New Era of Smart” – cities are turning to data. Using and analyzing information in new ways is enabling them to anticipate problems in real time, or better yet, before they happen. In addition, the knowledge and insight is crucial for city officials to make better decisions and swiftly resolve the issues that are most pressing for citizens. Continue Reading »

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Timothy Dalton, Nano-Science & Technology Partnership Program Manager, Master Inventor, IBM

Timothy Dalton, Nano-Science & Technology Partnership Program Manager, Master Inventor, IBM

By Timothy Dalton

Photovoltaic cells (the individual units of a solar panel) have been around since the 1970s. But until now, they have not been cost or energy effective enough for widespread adoption as an energy source. IBM Research’s latest foray into solar technology, a second-generation Ultra High Concentrator Photovoltaic (UHCPV) system, converts 30 percent of the sunlight that hits it to Direct Current – versus the 20 percent efficiency of conventional solar panels.

Gen II Ultra High Concentrator Photovoltaic cells installed at IBM Boulder site.

Gen II Ultra High Concentrator Photovoltaic cells installed at the IBM Boulder site.

Now, what started out as a joint project between IBM Research and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) through the KACST IBM Nanotechnology Center of Excellence has branched to sunny spots in the United States – Boulder, CO, and Tucson, AZ.

IBM’s inspiration to develop these new photovoltaics came from researching silicon technology for CMOS microprocessors after a client posed the question “what can [IBM] do with your technology in the field of renewable energy?” during the 2006 Innovation Jam. Continue Reading »

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Steve Hamm, IBM Writer

Steve Hamm, IBM Writer

By Steve Hamm

Over the past decade, the use of wind power has exploded–driven initially by demand in North America and Western Europe. But a variety of factors, including the economic slowdown in Europe and low-cost natural gas in the United States, have slowed wind adoption in developed economies. So now the emerging nations are driving growth. Now, aided in part by sophisticated weather science, those countries could play a huge role in blunting the effects of climate change.

In fact, a test project that’s being launched in China’s windy northern Hebei province could help clear the way for accelerated wind power adoption worldwide. Jibei Electricity Power Company, working with scientists from IBM Research-China, is using new technology to analyze weather and wind farm operations data in an effort to increase the reliability and economies of using wind energy on utility grids. “This is more than just business. It’s very important for society, for the whole of mankind,” says Henry Yu, a veteran of the Chinese utility industry who now works for IBM.

Today, coal provides about 80% of China’s electricity. Smog chokes the major Chinese cities and huge clouds of soot from the country’s coal-burning power plants have spread as far as the West Coast of the United States. The government is determined to do something about the situation—through a combination of subsidies and directives. As a result, last year China overtook the United States as the world’s largest user of wind power.

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Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology,  Harvard University

Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University

By Alán Aspuru-Guzik

What if you could capture and convert sunlight into electricity with a material as inexpensive, versatile and easy to produce as the one used for plastic bags? What if a liquid version of this material could be used to coat surfaces for solar energy production? What if these materials were light enough and thin enough for use in portable devices? And finally, what if these materials were so inexpensive that they could help provide electricity to people in the developing world and others without access to power grids?

Organic solar cells offer us the potential to realize these highly desirable outcomes. With that in mind, we launched the Clean Energy Project at Harvard to discover suitable materials from which to develop devices for generating electricity from sunlight. The Clean Energy Project uses massive amounts of computing power to screen an unprecedented number of organic compounds in an attempt to identify potential high-performance materials.

(This story originally appeared on Citizen IBM.)

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Vince Ward, Project Officer at the Southern Housing Group

Vince Ward, Project Officer at the Southern Housing Group

By Vince Ward

What started out as a community-based energy project on the Isle of Wight has morphed into a bona fide social movement.

Encouraged by the work of IBM Distinguished Engineer, Andy Stanford-Clark, who created a “smart” house that monitored, managed and optimized energy use, three years ago the Village of Chale created the Chale Community Project, which seeks, among other things, to reduce home energy costs by up to 50 percent. While the project has indeed raised awareness and helped residents lower costs, it has also had a serendipitous outcome – it has brought the community together.

From the very beginning of the Chale Community Project – during planning and roll-out phases – we worked on ensuring the local community was on board. Going from door to door, the team would communicate with residents about the plan of action, encourage participation and try to boost morale. Continue Reading »

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